Confusion in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Region as Russia Issues Evacuation Order

In the areas affected by Russian evacuation orders, few people appeared to be heeding them.

Bohdan Starokon, the exiled head of the Vasylivka district administration in the region, said about 80 people of the roughly 5,000 people who remained in the town — out of a prewar population of 22,000 — had agreed to evacuate on Sunday.

Halyna, 58, a resident of the occupied town of Polohy, said the Russian authorities abruptly announced the end of the school year on Friday. Scores of buses were brought in and residents were told to board with only what they could carry, said Halyna, who, like others interviewed for this article, asked that only her first name be used because of safety concerns.

After the buses departed, Halyna added, the occupation authorities pulled aside parents who had refused to evacuate and forced them to sign papers acknowledging that they were informed of the risks and took responsibility for their actions.

Artur Krupskyi, the exiled Ukrainian head of the Polohy regional administration, said other residents of the town told him they saw school buses accompanied by police cars leaving Polohy and traveling south, toward the coastal city of Berdiansk.

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